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28 April 2014 Symbolic Protest, Law Society, London

sharia-willsJoin Protest against Law Society
28 April 2014 from 5:00-6:00pm at
The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL.

Just show up or join the Facebook Page of the One Law for All, Southall Black Sisters, Centre for Secular Space, Lawyers Secular Society and LSE SUASH organised symbolic protest. The protest is endorsed by the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain.

The Law Society, the representative body for solicitors in England and Wales, has issued Sharia-related guidance on wills, succession and inheritance. The guidance says:

“Certain principles of Sharia are different to English succession laws. For example, it is not possible to inherit under Sharia rules via a deceased relative. No distinction is made between children of different marriages, but illegitimate and adopted children are not Sharia heirs.

“The male heirs in most cases receive double the amount inherited by a female heir of the same class. Non-Muslims may not inherit at all, and only Muslim marriages are recognised. Similarly, a divorced spouse is no longer a Sharia heir, as the entitlement depends on a valid Muslim marriage existing at the date of death”.

Whilst not binding, the guidance legitimises rules which are highly contested by many Muslims themselves and which discriminates against Muslim women, non-Muslims, and ‘illegitimate’ and adopted children. The guidance seriously undermines the Equality Act, citizenship rights and one law for all.

Since individuals are already free to dispense of their estate as they see fit (as long as they provide for their dependants) such guidance unwittingly aids and abets Islamist attempts at subverting democratic laws and principles with a de facto parallel legal system where minority women and children have increasingly fewer rights than other citizens.

This scandalous guidance is similar to that which Universities UK published endorsing gender segregation at universities in Britain. UUK was promptly forced to withdraw its guidance after widespread condemnation.

This protest will call for a withdrawal of the guidelines and make clear to the Law Society and the wider public that guidance that legitimises discrimination and bigotry is unacceptable.

You can find the list of signatories, including Maryam Namazie Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, Gita Sahgal, Peter Tatchell, Pragna Patel, Kate Smurthwaite,Sue CoxTaslima Nasrin and Richard Dawkins here.

The open letter from the Lawyers’ Secular Society can be found here.

If you haven’t already, please sign the LSS petition with more than 2,000 signatures here.

Comments

  1. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Petition linked, signed. Thanks for letting us know about this Maryam Namazie.

  2. Janet says

    As Maryam points out, people already have the right to leave money to whomever they choose.

    What’s new here is the Law Society — the Law Society! — providing guidance to help people evade the intentions of the UK’s long-standing anti-discrimination laws.

    Endorsing this blatantly discriminatory practice provides a veneer of legitimacy to hateful attitudes and behaviour. It even enshrines a form of discrimination I hadn’t heard of before, disinheriting adopted children!

    If the Law Society can’t bring itself to uphold the law, it could at least not undermine it.

  3. A lawyer says

    “What’s new here is the Law Society — the Law Society! — providing guidance to help people evade the intentions of the UK’s long-standing anti-discrimination laws.” It is rather funny when people talk about things they don’t understand. Discrimination relates to unequal treatment in respect of things to which one is entitled. You are generally not entitled UNDER ENGLISH LAW to a portion of your Mum or Pop’s estate. They can leave the whole damn estate to charity and give you absolutely nothing and so as long as the will properly drafted, it is perfectly legal!! The UK’s anti-discrimination laws were never meant to and plainly do not alter in any way testamentary freedom. This whole thing is much ado about nothing unless the aim of the campaign is to ultimately change English law to abolish testamentary freedom; for without such a change Muslims (like every other citizen) can choose to exclude anyone they please from their estate and for whatever they please. A solicitor can clearly draft a document for his client to give effect to his clients wishes, which are themselves not illegal. I fail to see what exactly is wrong with the professional organization of which the solicitor is member, helping the solicitor to do for his client what he can legally do!!

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